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									Public Pension Defense Tool Kit
 September 30, 2010

 The following is a template of what a local or regional media tool kit should contain
 as local and regional media outreach efforts build to support retirement security for
 public employees. This document is for internal use by supporters of public

 The content is the result of several brainstorming sessions conducted by the National
 Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems ( in
 partnership with other public pension stakeholder groups. The sessions were held
 over the summer of 2010 with the following goals:

 ▫   To identify some key universal messages, supporting data and examples, and talking points
     that can be adapted to local and regional issues and situations.
 ▫   To provide some initial resources, links, templates and other supporting documents that can
     be added to.

 Ultimately, it is up to each locality and region to adapt and fill in elements of this
 template tool kit and other resources for themselves.

 Thank you.

Local/Regional Media Toolkit Essentials

 • Select/Create Key Messages and Talking Points to adapt to local and regional
   concerns. Work them in to all statements or responses, and on key websites
    ▫ Identify and Localize/Regionalize case studies, human interest stories,
      sound bites
    ▫ Share among trusted coalition members
    ▫ Keep it Simple. Stay out of the weeds whenever possible

 • Roster of Media-Trained, On-Message Spokespeople, Subject Matter Experts

 • Schedule White Papers, Fact Sheets, Op-Eds, Letters to the Editor, and
   identify Public Forums and other places to go to speak and gain coverage

Local/Regional Media Toolkit Essentials

• Links to supporting online resources

• Monitoring all local and regional traditional media, social media, and the
  ▫ Specific issues
  ▫ Politician statements
  ▫ Organized movement (friend AND foe) statements and demonstrations

• Target List of Journalists and Editors for story and interview pitches, meetings,
   ▫ Friendly
   ▫ Adversaries

Strategic Message Matrix
            Topic/                Top Line              Proof 1:             Proof 2:                                            Reaction to
            Issue                 Message                Data                 Visual                                             Opponent
                                                    A recent report
                                                    finds that pension
                                                    income plays a
                                                    critical role in
                                                    reducing the risk of
                                                    poverty and
                                                    hardship among
                                                                                                                             All that does is hurt the
                                                    older Americans,
                                                                                                                             overall economy and
                                                    while also reducing      We’re already
                                                                                                                             municipal and state budgets
                                 To ensure that     public assistance        seeing more older
                                                                                                                             even more. The NIRS
                                 after a lifetime ofexpenditures.            Americans facing
                                                                                                                             “Pension Factor” study shows
                                 work you can                                unattractive
                                                                                                                             that rates of poverty among
                                 afford to retire.     From “The Pension choices: working
                                                                                                                             older households lacking
                                 The real crisis isn't Factor: Assessing     indefinitely (if they Public employees have
                                                                                                                             pension income were about
                                 about pensions;       the Role of Defined can find a job and      more security than
Retirement Security for all/An                                                                                               six times greater than those
                                 it's about the fact Benefit Plans in        are physically        private sector employees,
economy that works for all                                                                                                   with such income. The
                                 that the road to      Reducing Elder        able), living in      and in hard times, they
                                                                                                                             analysis also finds that
                                 retirement has        Hardships.”           poverty, or turning need to sacrifice equally.
                                                                                                                             pensions reduce – and in
                                 crumbled; an          National Institute on to outside
                                                                                                                             some cases eliminate – the
                                 increasing # of       Retirement Security, assistance from
                                                                                                                             greater risk of poverty and
                                 Americans cannot July 2009. (see            family or
                                                                                                                             public assistance dependence
                                 afford to retire.     online resources      government.
                                                                                                                             that women and minority
                                                                                                                             populations otherwise would
                                                       Pension Rights
                                                       Center: There’s a
                                                       $6.6 trillion
                                                       underfunding of
                                                       private sector

Strategic Message Matrix
           Topic/                    Top Line               Proof 1:             Proof 2:                                             Reaction to
           Issue                     Message                 Data                 Visual                                              Opponent
                                         Spending by
                                       retirees living in
                                     their communities
                                                                                                                                   A recent report finds that
                                     provide stability to
                                                                                                                                    pension income plays a
                                        local and state NIRS study on impact Every single dollar of
                                                                                                                                  critical role in reducing the
                                     economies during of retirees' pension taxpayer pension
                                                                                                                                 risk of poverty and hardship
                                      tough economic on state economies funding generates
                                                                                                                                   among older Americans,
                                          times. It is       shows public      $11.45 in economic
                                                                                                    Ultimately, we can’t afford    while also reducing public
                                     important for local employee retirees output. Coffee Shop
Stability of revenues for local and                                                                 to pay such benefits if we     assistance expenditures.
                                       economies that     pump $358 billion     Analogy: Who's in
         state economies.                                                                               are to balance our      The Pension Factor: Assessing
                                     workers be able to into local economies, the coffee shop or
                                                                                                             budgets.             the Role of Defined Benefit
                                       retire. We can't   creating 2.5 million movie theater on
                                                                                                                                    Plans in Reducing Elder
                                    afford NOT to fund jobs. (Perhaps add weekdays spending
                                                                                                                                Hardships. National Institute
                                    pensions. There are local info on retirees   money locally?
                                                                                                                                 on Retirement Security, July
                                      economic + social who stay in home            Retirees.
                                                                                                                                 2009. (See online resources
                                       assistance cost      communities.)
                                          benefits to
                                     communities with
                                    pensioned retirees.

Strategic Message Matrix
     Topic/           Top Line              Proof 1:               Proof 2:                                           Reaction to
     Issue            Message                Data                   Visual                                            Opponent
                                                                                                                  Public employee willingness
                          We are
                                                                                                                 to consider adding the most
                      identifying and
                                                                                                                 effective DB-like features to
                                         Since 2006 -- even                                                        underperforming DC-like
                      abuses such as
                                         before the current                                                      plans demonstrates an open-
                      double dipping,
                                         financial crisis -- 45        (Your                                     mindedness that is solutions-
                        spiking, etc.
                                              states in           state’s/region’s                                  oriented, not window-
 Responsible Reform                                                                  It’s just window-dressing
                                          cooperation with        /organization’s                                dressing. (See February 2010
                      We are seeking
                                         public employees          actions here)                                     NIRS “Raising the Bar:
                      creative ways to
                                            have enacted                                                             Improving Retirement
                       adapt the best
                                          pension reforms                                                          Security” policy solutions
                       features of DB
                                                                                                                   conference report; link in
                      plans to current
                                                                                                                     online resources slide)

Strategic Message Matrix
       Topic/                Top Line           Proof 1:            Proof 2:                                      Reaction to
       Issue                 Message             Data                Visual                                       Opponent
                                                                                                              It's a long process, and we
Public Pension Accounting    Public sector is GASB White Paper Nationally, our       GASB is currently taking can't pre-judge what a new
                                relying on    from five years ago pensions are pre-   another look at your       GASB report will find.
                                generally-       supports our    funded for another accounting standards
                                accepted          accounting     generation because                           Responsible Reform articles
                            accounting rules practices. (See        they have been                              and columns by leading
                                  set by        online resource      managed and                              unions (See online resource
                              independent            slide)          accounted for                                       slide)
                                 experts                            properly; most
                                                                    pension dollars
                                                                     paid to public
                                                                   employees come
                                                                     from properly
                                                                  earnings, not from
                                                                   contributions by
                                                                    government or

   Strategic Message Matrix
          Topic/                   Top Line             Proof 1:            Proof 2:                                             Reaction to
          Issue                    Message               Data                Visual                                              Opponent
                                      With the stock
                                        market and
                                 downturn, pension
                                  contributions may Defined benefit (DB) Standard & Poor’s      Pension plans still cost     70% of pension fund receipts
Pension plans are affordable and    be going up. But pensions are still the June 2009 report:    taxpayers too much         come from fund investments,
          sustainable               these additional most efficient way to "No Immediate                                          10% from employee
                                   contributions will   fund retirement Pension Hardship for                                  contributions, and only 20%
                                  be manageable in benefits. DB costs are     State & Local                                from employer contributions. A
                                       most states.   46 percent less than Governments." (See                                  year after suffering record
                                       Pensions are   DC costs to achieve a online resources                               investment losses, many of the
                                       durable and       target benefit.          slide).                                   nation’s largest public pension
                                  efficient and need                                                                          plans are reporting double-
                                     time to rebuild.                                                                        digit percentage gains for the
                                    Pensions have a                                                                          budget year that ended June
                                 longer time horizon                                                                        30, 2010. (See online resources
                                  than individuals to                                                                                     slide).
                                     recover losses.

   Strategic Message Matrix
          Topic/                   Top Line               Proof 1:              Proof 2:                                         Reaction to
          Issue                    Message                 Data                  Visual                                          Opponent
                                                        Average public                                                     100K Club is the exception: (1)
Envy from those who do not have   Most pensioners       sector pension        Find local examples   100k Club pensioners   Mostly senior executives who
            pensions              receive a modest     benefit in the US is     and put faces on                           earned it (2) average pensions
                                    benefit after a        in the mid                them.                                  are modest (3) do the math --
                                  lifetime of public     $20,000/year.                                                     divide the # of 100k recipients
                                        service.                            While abandoning                                by the total # of pensioners in
                                                        360 of Fortune 500    DB plans for its                                your state = low % of 100k
                                                       companies offer DB workers, corporate                               recipients. (See $100k Formula
                                                         pensions to their America still values                                          slide)
                                                           employees.       DB plans for its top
                                                                           executives (WSJ, Nov                            "It’s important that attacks on
                                                       Per Pension Benefit     3, 2009 slide)                                  public employee pension
                                                        Guaranty Corp., 44                                                  “double-dipping” during our
                                                          million private                                                    current economic crisis not
                                                        sector employees                                                   stigmatize the vast majority of
                                                          have DB plans.                                                   hard-working public employees
                                                        Roughly 22 million                                                    by burdening them with a
                                                           public sector                                                          double standard.“
                                                          employees do.
                                                                                                                            Compare to excesses among
                                                          Public sector                                                     government officials such as
                                                           employees                                                         Bell, CA, which is currently
                                                       contribute to plans,                                                 being sued by California AG
                                                       which are subject to                                                   Jerry Brown for massive
                                                          strict vesting                                                    overpayment of executives.

Strategic Message Matrix
Sample blank slide

        Topic/               Top Line             Proof 1:             Proof 2:                                           Reaction to
        Issue                Message               Data                 Visual                                            Opponent
                                State budget      Pensions are a small Find your state's % Articles and studies that   See slide on percentage of
                           problems are much percentage of state of budget that goes claim state budgets are         state budgets going to public
    Unfunded liabilities   larger than pension budgets. On average, to public employee busted by pension liabilities            pensions
                              funding; cutting 88% of the ARC was        pensions; public
                              benefits doesn't        received by      pensions have been
                            solve the problem. the largest public viable for 100 years.
                            Liability is another funds in 2008. About
                           word for an agreed 6 in 10 funds received
                             contract between payment for nearly
                               employers and       the full amount of
                           employees for their their ARC—but
                              years of service. contributions to 4 in
                                                     10 plans were
                                                 inadequate. For those
                                                  states that have not
                                                  made their ARC, that
                                                 debt needs to be paid

Strategic Message Matrix
             Topic/                      Top Line              Proof 1:             Proof 2:                                    Reaction to
             Issue                       Message                Data                 Visual                                     Opponent
                                                                                                                             This is nothing but scape-
                                                            Link to
 State and local benefit plans that      As the economy                                                                    goating by the big Wall Street
                                                                article in online
need help due to underfunding are        slowly improves,                                                                    banks that got us into this
                                                                resources slide                These are just bail-outs by
   hurting the bond market and               plans are                                                                        economic mess by over-
                                                            listing showing rates                   another name
hurting states’ ability to raise funds    recovering over                                                                   promoting 401ks, and now
                                                            of recovery by state
     for “necessary” services                  time                                                                         want to throw solid pension
                                                                                                                                plans under the bus

 Strategic Message Matrix
            Topic/                    Top Line              Proof 1:              Proof 2:                                             Reaction to
            Issue                     Message                Data                  Visual                                              Opponent
                                                                              Until recently private
                                                                                companies were
                                                                                                                                   The defined-benefit pension
                                                                               largely set up with
                                                                                                                                    plans most teachers, police
Retirement is a right that all working Shared risk: both Actual hit on pension DB pensions until
                                                                                                                                  and fire fighters participate in
Americans -- private & public sector public and private benefits from Wall         Wall Street
                                                                                                                                     were also common in the
            -- deserve.               employees need to Street abuses and the convinced them to
                                                                                                                                    private sector -- until just a
                                       be protected from failing economy have switch to risky 401ks.
                                                                                                                                   few years ago when healthy
                                           Wall Street   affected both private (Find examples of
                                                                                                                                     but greedy corporations
                                            excesses     and public employees. shared private and
                                                                                                                                    began to switch workers to
                                                                                 public pension
                                                                                                                                         riskier 401k plans.
                                                                                cuts/pain in your     Public employees must
                                                                                                                                      To impose changes that
                                                                              state/region and put share in the pain being
                                                                                                                                  would switch more people to
                                                                                a face on them).     suffered by private sector
                                                                                                                                  risky retirement investments
                                                                                                                                    would only reward the Wall
                                                                               While abandoning
                                                                                                                                  Street bankers who wrecked
                                                                                 DB plans for its
                                                                                                                                    our economy. Some public
                                                                               workers, corporate
                                                                                                                                     employees have already
                                                                               America still values
                                                                                                                                      been forced into these
                                                                               DB plans for its top
                                                                                                                                   unreliable plans, and would
                                                                              executives (WSJ, Nov
                                                                                                                                  face a double penalty if asked
                                                                                  3, 2009 slide)
                                                                                                                                   to give more after suffering
                                                                                                                                        severe stock losses.
                                                                                  Nebraska case
                                                                               history of DC-to-DB

Strategic Message Matrix
            Topic/                       Top Line             Proof 1:               Proof 2:                                      Reaction to
            Issue                        Message               Data                   Visual                                       Opponent
Statewide legislative initiatives to    These do virtually Pensions are a small    Find your state's %   We have to act now     Pensions also have a longer
 curb public employee pension          nothing to redress percentage of state     of budget that goes                         time horizon than individuals
            benefits                    states' immediate       budgets           to public employee                              to recover losses, a point
                                        financial crises by                         pensions; public                               highlighted in a recent
                                        cutting the largely                       pensions have been                               analysis by Standard &
                                       modest retirement                          viable for 100 years                         Poor’s. The same cannot be
                                         benefits earned                                                                         said for retirees and near-
                                          responsibly by                                                                         retirees without pensions
                                         teachers, public                                                                     and without sufficient time to
                                        safety employees                                                                           recover losses to their
                                            and nurses;                                                                        retirement savings accounts
                                        eliminating waste                                                                         and housing values. “No
                                          and fraud and                                                                       Immediate Pension Hardship
                                        sweetheart deals                                                                          for State & Local Govts,”
                                         for government                                                                       Standard & Poor’s, June 2009
                                         contractors are                                                                         (see online resource slide)
                                        better ways to cut
                                       costs immediately.

Strategic Message Matrix
           Topic/                   Top Line            Proof 1:   Proof 2:                Reaction to
           Issue                    Message              Data       Visual                 Opponent

European countries’ fiscal woes,   European
and their public sector            countries are
                                   facing budget
                                   crises because of
                                   poor financial
                                   decisions (Greece,
                                   Goldman Sachs) ,
                                   and not because
                                   of the public

                                   However, our
                                   concern is
                                   workforce and
                                   retirement in the
                                   US. The European
                                   situation is a

Strategic Message Matrix
Sample blank slide

      Topic/         Top Line   Proof 1:   Proof 2:                Reaction to
      Issue          Message     Data       Visual                 Opponent

 Formula for Percentage of $100k Club in a
• Step 1: Go to the U.S. Census data on public pensions
  and locate your state.
• Step 2: Find the total number of public employees that
  the U.S. Census Bureau has identified for your state.
• Step 3: Divide the number of $100k Club members by
  the number of public employees in Step 2.
• Step 4: Move the decimal point two places to the right to
  get percentage.

          Wall Street Journal, Nov 3, 2009

Pensions for Executives on Rise
Arcane Techniques, Generous Formulas Boost
   Payouts as Share Prices Fall


   Pensions for top executives rose an average of 19% in 2008,
   with more than 200 executives seeing pensions increase more
   than 50%, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis.

   The executive-pension growth stemmed partly from generous
   pension formulas, which are based on executive pay,
   according to the filings. Also adding to the pension jumps are
   arcane techniques that have received little scrutiny, including
   increases triggered when an executive reaches a certain age or
   when companies change interest rates used to calculate the

Percentage of State Government Budgets
     for Public Employee Pensions

                Sampling of Talking Points*
The economic crisis – and the Wall Street excesses and corporate abuses that drove it – is
  the real threat to retirement security for all Americans.
   ▫ Part of the American dream is that after a life of hard work and playing by the rules, people should
      be able to retire with dignity and security.
   ▫ But we know that for both public and private sector workers alike the dream of retirement security
      is being threatened by the economic crisis -- and the Wall Street excesses and corporate abuses that
      drove it.

We should deliver retirement security to more people, not force more retirees into
  ▫ Average public employees – nurses, school employees, community college professors and child
     protection workers, etc. – earn a secure but modest retirement benefit ($2,000 a month) after
     years of service.
  ▫ To strip away the pension benefits of people who are first responders in our communities – police,
     firefighters, and EMS personnel– and in some case their surviving families is not the right solution.
  ▫ Drastic alterations to their pension benefits would only drive more retirees into poverty and prove
     risky to local economies (state and local government retirees pump an estimated $358 billion a
     year into local economies).

              *Talking points need to be buttressed by hard data such as NIRS studies, and visual data
                such as compelling case histories and memorable sound bites

           Sampling of Talking Points
The right solution is to find sensible retirement options that make everyone on Main
  Street less vulnerable to poverty in old age and that protect people from approaches
  that have only enriched Wall Street.

•   Overreacting to the myth of underfunded public pensions rewards greedy Wall
    Street bankers who wrecked our economy.
    ▫ The defined-benefit pension plans most teachers, police and fire fighters participate in were
       also common in the private sector until just a few years ago when healthy but greedy
       corporations began to switch workers to riskier 401k plans.
    ▫ To impose changes that would switch more people to risky retirement investments would only
       reward the Wall Street bankers who wrecked our economy. Some public employees have
       already been forced into these unreliable plans, and would face a double penalty if asked to
       give more after suffering severe stock losses.
    ▫ We shouldn’t let opportunistic politicians reduce the benefits of middle-income workers –
       who are already making their share of sacrifices – by overstating the impact of short-term
       problems. Better regulation of Wall Street will solve most of these problems.
    ▫ Public pension plans have been viable for over 100 years and will recover any losses as the
       economy improves.

              Sampling of Talking Points
Public employees worked hard to earn modest retirement benefits.

•   Like all hard-working Americans, public employees like nurses, school employees, community
    college professors, and child protection workers have worked hard to earn a secure retirement, [if
    applicable] have contributed to their own pension plans, and [if applicable] have already made
    sacrifices to solve budget challenges.

•   Seven out of ten public employees receive retirement income of less than $30,000 a year, and [if
    applicable] most public employees don’t receive Social Security (see slides 31-32) or retirement
    health care benefits. The average public employee retirement benefit after years of service is about
    $2,000 a month, not a lot to live on in costly areas.

•   We should not allow opportunistic politicians to blame our teachers, police, nurses and firefighters
    for our economic problems when they should be putting responsibility where it belongs – on the
    corporate excesses that caused these problems.

              Sampling of Talking Points
Good pensions are great for state and local economies – and provide the public with
  good services now.

•   Public employee pensions are engines of economic growth for state and local economies, driving
    $358 billion in economic impact and creating 2.5 million jobs. Every one dollar of taxpayer
    funding generates $11.45 in economic output.

•   Retirees’ spending on food, medical services, transportation and the occasional movie matinee is
    vital to state and local communities lacking in diverse local industries.

•   Public employee pension funds creatively invest the money they hold in state and local
    communities – in California, that $15.1 billion in-state economic activity and 124,000 jobs
    outstrips both the construction and motion picture industries.

•   Public employees’ retirement benefits also help us attract and retain good employees for jobs that
    are crucial to our communities but that often pay less than comparable work in the private sector.
    We’re able to recruit good employees and quality services -- like strong schools, safe streets, and
    clean parks -- right now and pay over time for them.

             Sampling of Talking Points
On the Financial Viability of Pensions

•   Pensions have been financially viable for over 100 years and just like everything else, they along
    with 401ks took a hit during the recent market crash due to the abuses of mortgage companies
    and Wall Street brokers. That does not make them financially unviable.

•   In fact, pension funds were on solid financial footing until the recent stock market crash. They do
    so well most of the pension dollars (in California, 75 cents of every dollar) paid to teachers,
    firefighters, and school employees come from investment earnings, not contributions by

•   What we have to do now is work to ensure that our economy begins to recuperate in a healthy and
    responsible way so that pensions and any other types of investments continue to provide the
    safety net they were intended to for everyone.

          Sampling of Talking Points
On Pension Abuses and Pension Fund Integrity
• In some cases, a handful of top managers game the system to obtain large pension
  payouts – a practice known as “spiking” -- but the solution isn’t to cut retirement
  benefits for moderate-income public employees like nurses, school employees,
  community college professors, and child protection workers.
• For the sake of current and future retirees, public pension funds need to be models of
  transparency and good management. That’s why we are playing a watchdog role and
  fighting for stronger ethics and reporting rules.
   ▫ We want to limit spiking.
   ▫ We want to set strong rules to prevent corruption on the part of current or former
      pension system trustees and staff.

           Sampling of Talking Points
• In fact, over the years we have been part of the solution – fighting to pass legislation
  that protects the investments of workers and taxpayers. We want real reforms, and
  have successfully advocated for new laws that:
   ▫ prohibit trustees on pension funds from marketing products to other pension
      funds so that there is no conflict of interest in their actions or votes
   ▫ make it a criminal act to make false representation to a retirement system
   ▫ close the revolving door between trustees and staff of a retirement system and the
      private sector vendors who do business with retirement systems
   ▫ prevent anyone from unfairly manipulating the calculations of their final pension
   ▫ provide clear standards for terms under which retired employees can return to
      their workplaces as consultants and still obtain pension benefits
• Compare the few abuses of pension benefits to government officials who abuse
  taxpayers, such as in Bell, CA, where excessive government official pay is under
  investigation by CA AG Jerry Brown

              Sampling of Talking Points
On Statewide Legislation or Initiatives

•   Even as we succeed in defeating statewide initiatives or legislation, we must stay vigilant over other
    proposals that would cut the modest retirement income of public employees like nurses, school
    employees, community college professors, and child protection workers.
•   These proposals are wrong, they will force many teachers, firefighters and nurses to retire in poverty, and
    they do almost nothing to solve our state’s immediate budget crisis. Pension costs typically represent
    only a small fraction of state government budgets. Eliminating waste and fraud and sweetheart deals for
    government contractors are better ways to cut costs.
•   None of these proposals address the real issues: ensuring that our public pension funds are financially
    sound, preventing abuses, and holding Wall Street accountable.
•   The fact is that seven out of 10 public employees get less than $30,000 per year in retirement, and most
    do not receive Social Security (see slides 31-32). Yet several proposals in our state keep surfacing that
    would either cut these modest benefits or force higher contributions from workers who count on these
    benefits to offset the lower wages than they would receive in comparable private sector jobs.
•   For example, under one recent proposal in California, a school bus driver, custodian, or a librarian who
    also pays into Social Security would get a 48 percent cut in their pension despite the fact that under
    current law the average public employee retirement benefit is about $2,000 per month after years of
    service. If this proposal were law today that average retirement benefit would be just over $1,000 per
    month, barely above the federal poverty level for a family of one. That is simply not enough to live on.

            Sampling of Talking Points
Talking About Public Employees and Pensions
• Here are some examples of how to talk about our workers in the context of pension fights:
• National and statewide political and/or ad campaigns to protect public sector pensions broadly
  should use the categories our polling shows people can most relate to, “teachers, nurses, police,
  and firefighters.”
• However, in state and local earned media we should be speaking of our members and the public
  benefit of their work, for example, “the social workers who protect children from abuse,” “the
  EMTs and nurses who save lives every day,” or “the community and state college professors who
  are educating the next generation of Californians.” Consider featuring members providing
  services that help people hurt by the economic turndown: “people who are helping a small
  business grow, getting a worker a good job, making sure a child gets their next meal.”
• In local battles, local communicators must assess the types of workers affected and choose
  examples that offer the most concrete, easily understandable benefit to the public, for example:
  “the city employees who maintain our streets and parks, take 911 calls, and run our libraries.”

California’s Local Fights to Switch to Two-Tier Systems
• (FILL IN WORKER CATEGORIES AS APPROPRIATE*) receive an average of a little over $2,000
  a month in retirement benefits. Cutting these benefits for future workers is unfair and will force
  these workers to retire in poverty.
• There are some pension abuses, but they’re at the top; management is trying to punish (FILL IN
  WORKER CATEGORIES AS APPROPRIATE*) for top managers’ excesses.

                         Online Resources
•   NIRS General FAQ Document on Pensions

•   NIRS Module: Best Practices for Handling Tough Funding Issues

•   “Out of Balance” NIRS Report on public employees earning less than comparable private sector
     ▫ CNN April 2010 coverage of the “Out of Balance” report

•   NCPERS online tool to assist members in responding to GASB

•   NCPERS Top 10 Advantages of Defined Benefit plans

• article and chart on the recent significant rebound in public employee pension returns

•   GASB Whitepaper on Why Government Accounting is and should be different

•   Profiles of the people and the important work of public employees by a coalition of Montana state

            More Online Resources
• NASRA: Standard &Poor’s June 2009 Report “No Immediate Pension Hardship for
  State and Local Governments

• May 2010 SF Chronicle column by SEIU’s Yvonne Walker on Pension Plan Reform

• CalPERS’ response to alarmist Stanford University Study, April 2010

• NIRS February 2010 report-- Policy Solutions for Improving Retirement Security

• The Pension Factor - Assessing the Role of Defined Benefit Plans in Reducing Elder

• Article on the movement in Europe toward pre-funded rather than pay-as-you-go

• Sample press releases from NIRS

Social Security and Medicare Coverage of Workers from their
      State and Local Government Employment in 2007
                                        Workers With OASD         Workers Without OASD
•   State                  All Workers Number      Percentage   Number     Percentage
•   Ohio                   845,800     21,700      2.6%         824,100     97.4%
•   Massachusetts          474,700     20,400      4.3%         454,300     95.7%
•   Nevada                 159,400     29,500      18.5%        129,900     81.5%
•   U.S. Territories        6,400      1,300       20.3%        5,100       79.7%
•   Louisiana              329,700     92,700      28.1%        237,000     71.9%
•   Colorado               409,100     124,300     30.4%        284,800     69.6%
•   California             2,478,000   1,084,400   43.8%        1,393,600   56.2%
•   Texas                  1,752,600   836,400     47.7%        916,200     52.3%
•   Maine                  118,000     63,900      54.2%        54,100      45.8%
•   Illinois                961,600     526,400    54.7%        435,200     45.3%
•   Alaska                 64,300      42,100      65.5%         22,200     34.5%
•   Hawaii                 113,400     79,700      70.3%        33,700      29.7%
•   Connecticut            287,400     205,900     71.6%        81,500      28.4%
•   Missouri               463,500     341,600     73.7%        121,900     26.3%
•   Georgia                699,200     518,700      74.2%       180,500     25.8%
•   Kentucky               373,300     279,000     74.7%        94,300      25.3%
•   District of Columbia   75,400      58,600      77.7%        16,800      22.3%
•   Rhode Island           65,200      55,300      84.8%        9,900       15.2%
•   Puerto Rico            257,700     222,700     86.4%        35,000      13.6%
•   North Dakota           74,900      65,300      87.2%        9,600       12.8%
•   Montana                95,700      83,500      87.3%        12,200      12.7%
•   Wyoming                78,500      69,200      88.2%        9,300       11.8%
•   New Hampshire          108,100     95,400      88.3%        12,700      11.7%

                 Social Security and Medicare Coverage of Workers from their
                       State and Local Government Employment in 2007

                                      Workers With OASD          Workers Without OASD
•   State               All Workers    Number       Percentage   Number       Percentage
•   Michigan            772,600        684,400      88.6%        88,200       11.4%
•   Washington          563,900        500,100      88.7%        63,800       11.3%
•   Wisconsin           484,400        429,900      88.7%        54,500       11.3%
•   Florida             1,162,800      1,032,800    88.8%        130,000      11.2%
•   Arkansas            203,300        182,500      89.8%        20,800       10.2%
•   New Mexico          197,400        177,400      89.9%        20,000       10.1%
•   Indiana             497,900        448,500      90.1%        49,400       9.9%
•   Iowa                288,800        261,600      90.6%        27,200       9.4%
•   Maryland            458,300        415,700      90.7%        42,600       9.3%
•   Oklahoma            310,500        281,800      90.8%        28,700       9.2%
•   Tennessee           484,900        441,400      91.0%        43,500       9.0%
•   Arizona             444,300        406,300      91.4%        38,000       8.6%
•   Utah                222,000        202,800      91.4%        19,200       8.6%
•   Mississippi         260,900        240,300      92.1%        20,600       7.9%
•   Kansas              289,200        266,500      92.2%        22,700       7.8%
•   Oregon              290,400        267,800      92.2%        22,600       7.8%
•   North Carolina      713,100        659,700      92.5%        53,400       7.5%
•   Alabama             390,000        361,100      92.6%        28,900       7.4%
•   Pennsylvania        808,600        749,400      92.7%        59,200       7.3%
•   New Jersey          686,800        638,300      92.9%        48,500       7.1%
•   South Dakota        79,200         73,800       93.2%        5,400        6.8%
•   West Virginia       155,300        144,700      93.2%        10,600       6.8%
•   Nebraska            152,200        142,500      93.6%        9,700        6.4%
•   Minnesota           445,100        417,900      93.9%        27,200       6.1%
•   South Carolina      375,800 3      52,700       93.9%        23,100       6.1%
•   Delaware            65,600         61,900       94.4%        3,700        5.6%
•   Idaho               134,800        127,300      94.4%        7,500        5.6%
•   Virginia            677,200        641,400      94.7%        35,800       5.3%
•   New York            1,734,700      1,681,800    97.0%        52,900       3.0%
•   Vermont             60,700         59,300       97.7%        1,400        2.3%

                                                      California SEIU
                                                         Case Study:
                                                        The Situation

SITUATION: Local Union Redirects Pension Fight to Banks
• Communications staff of California Local 521 worked with the International Union’s banks
  campaign recently and succeeded in getting media coverage of their pension plight to also
  feature their new accountability campaign on a bond “swaps” deal that is costing the city of
  Menlo Park millions.

  These swaps are occurring in cities and states all over the country, and provide an
  opportunity for us to move from defense to offense on pensions and budget cuts .

                                                                California SEIU
                                                                   Case Study:
                                                               The Background
                                                                  and Problem
Here is the report from Local 521 Communications Director Khan Weinberg:
• Background: An anti-worker group successfully collected enough signatures to place on November
  ballot an initiative that would make new hires come in at a lesser two-tier retirement rate. Any future
  increases would need to be approved by voters. This is unprecedented for a general law city (as far as we
  know). SEIU 521 and AFSCME are suing the city on the grounds that the initiative violates CA

•   Problem: Public perception. We are losing the public fight over pension in the media.

                                                                California SEIU Case
                                                                        The Strategy

•    Strategy: Re-direct public anger/[increase] engagement to battle big bad banks. Menlo
    Park is paying a bank a fixed 4% interest rate on bonds while the bank is paying at nearly
    0%. This is the result of “interest rate swapping” – the subject of several state
    investigations. This bad bank deal is costing the city $2.5 million a year – and $37 million
    by the time everything is paid up.

•    This was a long-shot that we could redirect the media. The logical headlines would be:
    “Unions sue city over pension.” We wanted: “Unions urge city to recover $2.5 million in
    bad bank deal.” The media actually followed our “pivot” messaging strategy.

• Local 521’s effort is part of a continuing effort, and the local would welcome any feedback
  and ideas on “what next.” Contact:

• For a banks toolkit that will help your local try this approach, contact

              Pension Questions for Political Candidates

Public employees count on a secure pension at the end of their career. For many families in non-Social
   Security states (see slides 31-32), a public pension is their only source of retirement income. However, the
   recession has had a major impact on pension plan investments and caused the need for additional

Some political candidates believe there have to be changes in benefits offered. For some, that means
   changing benefits offered within the defined benefit plans now in existence, creating a two-tiered system.
   For others, it means increasing contributions required from employers, employees, or both. For other
   candidates, it means elimination of a defined benefit plan and replacing it with a defined contribution
   plan, like the 401(k) plans more common among private sector employers.

The following questions could help determine which group this candidate falls into:
• Q: Do you think changes are needed in the pension system for public employees? If so, please describe
  the specific changes you would support.
• Q. By law, pension funds must be funded. Employees are contractually guaranteed these retirement funds
  and have sacrificed wages in return for the pensions. Not funding them is not acceptable. What are your
  ideas for how to sustain public pension plans while they recover from the recent investment loses?
• Q. Are you or have you ever been a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council or any other
  organization that endorses the privatization of Social Security and conversion of defined benefit pension
  plans to defined contribution plans?

                                      State Case History:
• Nebraska has offered both DB and DC plans to different groups of public employees
  and is a textbook case for the advantages of traditional pension plans.
• The state began the DC plan for state and county employees in 1964.
• Teachers, state patrol workers and judges retained their DB plans.
• In 2003 the DC plan was closed to new employees. New employees went into a cash
  balance plan. Current employees could choose to stay in the DC plan or move to the
  new cash balance plan.
• By 1999 both Anna Sullivan , Executive Director of Nebraska PERS and AFSCME had
  many examples of employees making very poor choices:
   1.    Majority left their funds in the default fund, which was very conservative.
   2. Many who invested in equities played the market, traded often and continually
   3. Many who retired or quit took a lump sum.
   4. Anna Sullivan declared that the money the taxpayers were contributing were
         wasted tax dollars compared to tax dollars contributed to the DB plans.

       State Case History: Nebraska
• A study was proposed to the legislature. The legislature agreed.
   ▫   Result: Buck Consultants was retained to do a study on pension adequacy in 2000.
   ▫   The study compared returns for the DB and DC plans and found that between 1983 and 1999,
       the DB plans yielded an average of 11 percent a year, compared to 6 percent for those
       participating in the DC plans.
• The Buck study found that the DB plans offered their participants income
  replacement averaging 60 to 70 percent.
• The Buck study found that the state and county workers in the DC plans, however,
  got a benefit of only about 25 to 30 percent income replacement.
• Over the years, half of all money in workers' DC accounts ended up in the default
  investments. And though the state offered 11 fund choices to make it easy for workers
  to diversify their accounts, 90% of the money went into only three funds.
• Additionally, the state required all employees to contribute money from of their
  monthly paychecks to invest in their retirement accounts (Factoring in state
  matching contributions, this amounted to 10% to 11% of their income).
• NPERS also tried to help workers learn about the stock market. They could take time
  off from work to attend day-long educational investment seminars.

       State Case History: Nebraska
• Anna Sullivan and the PERB Board decided to propose legislation to move all new
  employees into a cash balance plan and to allow current employees to switch to the
  cash balance plan.
• Result: The bill passed with little opposition in 2002. (Republican majority and a
  Republican Governor)
   ▫   The factual basis for change was a study done by a respected firm (Buck).
   ▫   At the time, the DB plans were well funded.
   ▫   Anna Sullivan statements that the money the taxpayers were contributing was wasted tax
       dollars played well.
   ▫   It did not require the state or county governments greater contributions. No additional taxes.
• Key Players:
  ▫ Anna Sullivan: Well liked by the Legislature and very supportive of change.
   ▫   The Buck consultant: Said what needed to be said.
   ▫   Legislative Retirement Committee had members who were quite knowledgeable about
       retirement issues (the NSEA cultivates the members of this committee): They can kill a bill
       outright or they can vote it onto the floor of the Legislature.
   ▫   Support of the other unions.

                                          State Case History:

• In 2005, the Alaska legislature closed its retirement plans for public employees and
  teachers to new entrants and forced all new employees into defined contribution
  accounts and also significantly reduced retiree medical benefits. The plan went into
  effect in 2005. Alaska public employees receive no Social Security so the pension
  system was the safety net for public workers. The change occurred in swift order
  and under direct pressure from the White House to close the defined benefit plan.

• The Alaska Public Pension Coalition (APPC) was created in 2007 to lead the fight to
  return Alaska's public employees to a defined benefit retirement system.

          State Case History: Alaska
• The Coalition has sponsored focus groups and public opinion research, written a
  white papers, “Returning Alaska to a Defined Benefit System: A Benefit for Alaskans
  and a Savings for the State”, on the importance of returning to a secure retirement
  system and supported legislation that would once again provide defined benefit plans
  to public employees in the 2008, 2009 and 2010 legislative sessions.

• The coalition has run print, radio, and television ads, authored op-eds and
  coordinated letters to the editor. They have mobilized members to attend hearings,
  lobbied individual legislators and have mobilized statewide to effect the decisions of
  targeted legislators who have held up hearings and movement on defined benefit
  legislation. The coalition organized Retirement Security Forums in 2010 prior to the
  start of the legislative session to draw attention to the need for a secure retirement for
  public employees. The hearings were well attended by legislators.

• Alaska Center for Public Policy article supporting Defined Benefit pension plans in
  the state

                                         State Case Study:
• The Colorado Coalition for Retirement Security was founded in 2006 to respond to
  efforts to make significant changes to the Colorado Public Employees Retirement
  Association (PERA), including proposals to make the primary retirement benefit an
  individual account (similar to a 401(k)). The coalition was re-activated in 2009 to
  help find solutions to stabilize and sustain PERA following the damage done to the
  system from the market meltdown of 2008.

• The members of the CCRA include: AFSCME Colorado, American Federation of
  Teachers Colorado, Association of Colorado State Patrol Professionals, Colorado
  Association of School Executives, Colorado Education Association, CSPERA -
  Colorado School & Public Employees Retirement Association, Colorado WINS,
  Friends of PERA and DPS – Retirees.

          State Case Study: Colorado
• The CCRA received a grant from the NPPC in 2009 to support research, messaging and
  strategic analysis in 2009 and 2010. The CCRA also received support from NPPC to
  prepare members in advance of the PERA listening tour that took place in 2009 in
  preparation for the 2010 legislative session. The PERA listening tour was designed to
  re-set expectations and educate stakeholders about the impact of the 2008 market
  decline on PERA’s long-term solvency and the need to make changes to PERA to make
  it stable and sustainable over time. Prior to the listening tours CCRA worked to
  educate and mobilize members to attend the PERA listening tour sessions and to
  ensure that the voices of public employees, retirees and plan beneficiaries were heard
  at the sessions. Members of CCRA unions and associations very well attended our
  mobilizations and the PERA listening sessions and many members spoke out at the
  listening sessions using talking points and information provided at the training
  sessions. Many of the PERA listening sessions were standing room only. The coalition
  also held focus groups and completed a public opinion poll prior to the start of the
  legislative session. Key findings of the poll were shared with legislative leaders.

        State Case Study: Colorado
• The Coalition worked collaboratively to impact the PERA board’s original legislative
  proposal which included a 2% increase in contributions for employees; a 2% increase
  in contributions for sponsoring employers, a reduction in the COLA for current
  retirees and a host of other changes to the system that would require future workers
  to “work longer, pay more and receive reduced benefits.” Through the work of the
  coalition many aspects of the original PERA board legislation were mitigated and the
  vast majority of coalitions members were able to support SB 1, which Governor Ritter
  signed into law on February 23, 2010. The efforts of the CCRA allowed for swift
  resolution of SB 1 and changes to the existing defined benefit system.

• Following passage of the bill a group of retirees sued the state to challenge the cost of
  living adjustment for current retirees.

                             State Case History:
                               New Hampshire
• The New Hampshire Retirement Security Coalition was created in 2008
  to protect the retirement security of New Hampshire public workers
  who receive pension and health care benefits from the New Hampshire
  Retirement System (NHRS).

• In 2008, the Coalition worked collectively to oppose the House version
  of HB 1645 and to modify the Senate version of the bill. The final bill
  provided a modified COLA for retirees, supplemental payments for
  retirees, changes to the medical subsidy for retirees, capped annual
  pensions at $120,000 for new hires and created two retirement
  commissions to study long-term solutions for funding retiree health and

State Case History: New Hampshire
• During the legislative session the coalition employed a communications coordinator
  and undertook an information campaign designed to sway legislative and public
  opinion against both defined contribution accounts and a two-tiered retirement
  system. The coalition meet with editorial boards, authored op-eds, coordinated
  letters to the editor, mobilized members for hearings and lobbying of individual
  legislators, held press conferences and lobbied successfully to modify HB 1645 in the
  Senate. Much of the coalitions work centered on working with Senate leaders to
  ensure that public employees, retirees and beneficiaries were included in a series of
  four hearings held prior to the introduction of the Senate bill. These testimonies
  were used to highlight the negative impact of lowered colas, lack of retiree medical
  benefits, defined contribution accounts and failure on the part of employees to make
  contributions to the retirement fund in the past. Feature stories on witnesses were

• Following the legislative session, the Coalition was successful in getting coalition
  members appointed to the study commissions in leadership roles and successfully
  fought off additional changes to the retirement system in 2010.

State Case History: New Hampshire
• Member unions of the coalition sought legal relief from many of the changes enacted in HB
  1645 in 2009 and 2010, these legal challenges are pending. The coalition also received
  unanimous support in 2010 from both houses of the legislature for union efforts to provide
  a retiree medical trust. The retiree medical trust will allow current workers to save for
  retiree health expenses in tax-preferred accounts and will allow individual unions to
  negotiate with employers to contribute to these trusts on behalf of public employees. Local
  governments had long opposed efforts by the state to force them to make contributions to
  retiree health. The medical trust will now take these discussions to the local bargaining
  table. Without this effort a growing numbers of retirees would receive no retiree health
  benefit and groups of retirees that formerly had no access to retiree health benefits will now
  have access to retiree health benefits.

• The NPPC continues to provide support to the efforts of the NHRSC and to individual
  member unions. New Hampshire member unions and their internationals have supported
  the NHRSC’s efforts financially.

Questions or Comments on Toolkit
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  Suite 630
  Washington, DC 20001

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